Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Day of Remembrance

     Yesterday afternoon, Joel and I visited the old cemetery to bring new flags and wreathes to place at the Grand Trunk Veterans Memorial and, at the still recognizable graves, of two veterans of early wars in American history. This has become a part of our ritual for celebrating Memorial Day since undertaking the restoration of this cemetery.

The Grand Trunk Cemetery Veterans Memorial Honoring
Ten Veterans of The Revolution, The War of 1812
and The Civil War


The Graves of Simon Davis, Revolutionary War
and Francis Smith, War of 1812

     Over the years, since the first Memorial Day, then called Decoration Day,  was celebrated shortly after the Civil War, first, in various locations by individuals in separate communities, Memorial Day as we know it, has taken on significant meaning for families in the United States.  

     As a girl, I remember the visits to the cemetery to cleanup and plant at the graves of my grandfather and other relatives, loved ones who had passed away.  I remember parades to honor soldiers who had died on the battlefield and purchasing the red paper poppy to wear. I still do this today.

  Although Memorial Day did not become a federal holiday until 1971 by an act of Congress, it was celebrated by Americans across the nation for a very long time.  I found this short piece regarding the history of the day that I thought worth sharing.



     After World War I, the so-called, war to end all wars, people began to recognize all veterans who had died in America's wars.  This Memorial Day poster from 1917 with its vivid images shows this change of sentiment and regard.

 

     Memorial Day is a day to remember all our deceased Veterans, those who paid the ultimate price and died on the field of battle and those who served to win and preserve our freedom and liberty."We are the home of the 'free' because of the 'brave'."

   I've heard it said, that repeating the name of someone who has died is a small way to remember them and assure they will not be forgotten.  With this in mind, Joel and I read the names of our ancient veterans aloud with only the birds and squirrels to hear among the rustling leaves.  None-the-less, perhaps, dear reader, you will do the same to honor them.


SAMUEL BLAKE, PRIVATE
Born:  1794,  Died:  February 14, 1846
THE WAR OF 1812

WILLIAM BLAKE, PRIVATE
Born:  March 6, 1774,  Died:  October 1853
THE WAR OF 1812

SIMON DAVIS, PRIVATE
Born:  September 2, 1765,  Died:  March 17, 1810
THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR

ANDREW GRAVES, PRIVATE
Born:  1774,  Died:  November 28, 1860
THE WAR OF 1812

ENSIGN/LIEUT. CRISPUS GRAVES
Born:  1742,  Died:  March 14, 1818
THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR

JOSEPH LUNT, PRIVATE
Born:  April 3, 1757,  Died:  September 15, 1804
THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR

JOSEPH MERRILL, PRIVATE
Born:  1754,  Died:  April 8, 1823
THE WAR OF 1812

JAMES MOSELEY, PRIVATE
Born:  1836,  Died:  December 10, 1892
THE CIVIL WAR

JOHN SAWYER, JR.,PRIVATE
Born:  November 13, 1760,   Died:  December 6, 1842
THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR
AND
THE WAR OF 1812

JOSEPH MERRILL SAWYER, PRIVATE
Born:  August 1795,  Died:  June 1, 1875
THE WAR OF 1812

WILLIAM SAWYER, PRIVATE
Born:  1763,  Died:  May, 14, 1825
THE WAR OF 1812

FRANCIS SMITH, PRIVATE
Born:  1791,  Died:  June 1, 1840
THE WAR OF 1812

     
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     I came across this little poem and chose to read the first few stanzas as they seemed appropriate to the moment:



     Finally, to honor other unknown and long forgotten Veterans who may be interred in the Grand Trunk Cemetery in unmarked graves, we placed this wreath at the Early Settlers Memorial.



   We did not sing Taps.  We reserve that for more auspicious moments, and better voices.  I will share the words for those of you who might want to hum the tune yourselves as you celebrate this Memorial Day by visiting  a local Veterans cemetery or burial site.